OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

The perfect pairing: wine and justice

Just pour, swirl and sip

For the perfect wine experience, just add justice

Ian & Chuck from Peju at OneJustice's "Wine & Film" Night

Ian & Chuck from Peju and OneJustice executive Julia at the  “Wine & Film” Night for the OneJustice network

OneJustice supports a statewide network of nonprofits, law schools, law firms, and businesses that provide life-changing legal help to hundreds of thousands of Californians facing legal barriers to basic necessities.  You – like everyone in our network – are an essential part of this collective effort!

This month we’re excited to feature Peju Province Winery as another example of how “It Takes a Network” to achieve access to justice for Californians in need.

Peju Province Winery has supported our annual Opening Doors to Justice event for the last 6 years.   Earlier this month, the winery also provided a special evening of wine tasting and education for the OneJustice network.   This week we sat down with Ian White, of the Peju family and the winery, for a quick interview to learn more about Peju Province Winery, as well as its support for OneJustice and other nonprofits.

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Peju_vineyardsIan, please tell us a little bit about Peju Province Winery – how did it get started and what does it focus on in terms of wine?
Peju is family owned and operated and has been for over 30 years. We are a boutique winery in Rutherford, famed as much for the guest experience, beautiful gardens and family hospitality as it is for the wines.

What are the best ways for folks to learn more about Peju – and even taste some wine?
Come to the winery in Rutherford (heart of Napa Valley) and check us out at Peju.com.

Peju has been supporting OneJustice for over 5 years now – what drew the winery to OneJustice and its mission?
We’ve been proud to support OneJustice and their mission to bring life-changing legal help to those in need far and wide, and right here at our home in Napa County. What a fantastic thing to be saving people’s homes, families and lives and what an honor to be able to support those efforts!

You are also involved in another venture that helps nonprofits, Donation Vine.  How does that work and how can legal services nonprofits find out more?
Donation Vine is a simple, turn-key solution for charities to raise money via wine-related fundraisers. You pick the place and the day and invite your patrons. We pair the perfect wines (mostly hard to find Napa Valley and Sonoma boutique wines), and bring them for a mixer where everyone learns, sips, and raises funds for the cause. We take all the pressure off of the wineries and the charities and create the perfect win-win situation.

And Ian, for the last question – what draws you personally to OneJustice’s work?Peju Tasting Room
I worked for the Environmental Law Foundation in London and actually helped save a neighborhood park from becoming a gas station. After this real world experience in helping those around me, I know the value of what OneJustice does.  Everyone deserves access to legal help and justice and OneJustice does just that!

From all of us at OneJustice, a heartfelt “thank you!” for Peju’s wonderful support for the work of the OneJustice network!

7 fun facts about the farthest we’ve gone

They boarded the bus this morning

And will travel 706 miles before they return

In our March Justice contest, we asked you all to guess the number of miles a group of law student volunteers will travel over the course of the two-day Justice Bus Trip to bring free legal help to persons with disabilities in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

The correct answer?  706 miles

Students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law boarded the Justice Bus this morning.

Students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law boarded the Justice Bus this morning.

And we are delighted to report that Karen Dwyer-Meadow won our March contest, with her closest guess of 728 miles.  Congratulations Karen!

And yep, you heard that right.

These amazing law students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law will spend their spring break traveling a total of 706 miles in their quest to bring life-changing legal help to residents of Humboldt and Del Norte counties.  Today they were at a Yurok Tribe building in Eureka (Humboldt County) providing free legal assistance on special education issues to nine families of children with disabilities.  Tomorrow morning they will get up and travel to Klamath (Del Norte County) and set up a free legal clinic for children and adults with disabilities – and then travel home to Sacramento.

We are also delighted to bring you 7 fun facts about these counties, which represent the farthest that Justice Bus have ever traveled!

  1. Number of prior Justice Bus Trips to these counties: 1 prior trip (in January of this year)
  2. Total hours of service that each student will perform during the trip: 8 hours (13 if you also count the hours they will spend in training on the areas of law)
  3. Percent of population living below the poverty level in Del Norte County: 21.5%  (compared to 15.3% for the state as a whole)
  4. Percent of population living below the poverty level in Humboldt County: 19.7
  5. Number of incorporated cities in Del Norte County: only 1 (Crescent City, with a total population of 7,394)
  6. Number of Justice Bus trips McGeorge students have gone on: 15 trips (This trip is the law school’s 16th!)
  7. Final Interesting Fact: Humboldt County contains eight Indian reservations within its borders. Only four other counties in the United States contain a greater number. And in fact, the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation (located in Del Norte County) is the largest in the state of California.
This family was all smiles after receiving help at the Justice Bus special education clinic today in Humboldt County.

This family was all smiles after receiving help at the Justice Bus special education clinic today in Humboldt County.

Thank you to Pacific McGeorge School of Law and their amazing law students who are willing to travel serious distance to make a difference for those in need.

Thank you all to all the amazing partners on this trip!  Huge thanks to Legal Services of Northern California and Disability Rights California for providing the expert supervising attorneys and the trainings for the law students.  Thank you to Chief Judge Abby Abinanti and all the amazing staff at the Yurok Tribal Court and the Yurok Tribe for their incredible partnership.

And a heartfelt thank you to the California Endowment and a group of generous donors for making this trip possible.  You are creating the change we all hope to see in the world.  Thank you!

Wait, don’t roll up the red carpet yet!

In the spirit of the Oscars, we announce

The 2014 Opening Doors to Justice awards!

Every year, the OneJustice network gathers to celebrate three individuals whose outstanding accomplishments have truly moved the needle on legal services, pro bono, and access to justice in California.  We look forward to gathering with you all again this year, as our co-founders Raymond Bonner and Trina Ostrander will return to celebrate OneJustice’s 35th Anniversary and present the three Opening Doors to Justice awards.  Mark your calendars now for:

2014 Opening Doors to Justice
Thursday, July 17, 2014
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Julia Morgan Ballroom
465 California St, San Francisco, CA 94104

And now to announce the 2014 awards!  The envelopes please . . .

2014 Jack Londen Public Service Award

Erika Rottenberg, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, LinkedIn

Named after long-time OneJustice Board member and access to justice champion Jack Londen of Morrison & Foerster, each year we present this Public Service award to an attorney in the private sector for outstanding leadership in increasing access to justice, pro bono, and support for the legal services community.  We are delighted to recognize Erika Rottenberg of LinkedIn for the incredible commitment to pro bono she has fostered at LinkedIn‘s legal department and her personal dedication to providing pro bono services to Californians in need. Erika’s commitment to pro bono is documented in the video below about the Justice Bus trip LinkedIn did together with Cooley LLP to bring free legal assistance to immigrant youth in Napa County.  We hope you will join us on July 17th to honor Erika’s leadership and personal dedication to expanding access to justice. Congratulations Erika!

Click on the image below to watch the video about LinkedIn and Cooley’s Justice Bus Trip.

LinkedIn & Cooley Justice Bus Trip

2014 Opening Doors to Justice – in the category of Legal Services Hero

Silvia Argueta, Executive Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Silvia Argueta is the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). Prior to her appointment, Silvia was a senior attorney with LAFLA’s Government Benefits Unit.  Before joining LAFLA in 1999, Silvia worked on civil rights and policy matters at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California.   Silvia is a respected leader on legal services issues at the local, statewide, and national level, serving on the Executive Committee of the California Project Directors Association and the Civil Policy Group of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association  (NLADA).  We are also incredibly proud that she is a graduate of the inaugural year of the OneJustice Executive Fellowship.  Please join us on July 17th to celebrate Silvia’s many accomplishments. Congratulations Silvia!

Click on the image below to watch a powerful video about LAFLA’s work serving over 70,000 low-income residents of Los Angeles every year.LAFLA Video 2013

2014 Opening Doors to Justice: Best Access to Justice Film

Dave Brick, Owner, Brick Film

Last year, Dave Brick did something special.  A talented filmmaker, Dave decided to use his skills to give back to the nonprofit community.  He set up a contest to select one nonprofit to receive a free film to tell the story of their  mission and work.  OneJustice was one of 47 submissions, was selected as one of five finalists, and after thousands of votes were cast online, won the free film.  And then something remarkable happened.  In the creative discussions to develop the idea for the film, Dave drew on his previous work for CRLA and PolicyLink documenting the needs of small unincorporated communities in rural areas to tell a story about the power of legal services for one family in the Central Valley.  Dave’s film about Mr. Florentino Salazar is an evocative portrayal of the power of legal services to change lives, and we hope that many legal services nonprofits – in California and even nationally – will be able to use Dave’s film to help communicate about the incredible need for legal services.  We hope you will join us in celebrating Dave’s generosity and support for the California legal services community.  Congratulations Dave!

Obama Administration & Legal Services Corp. Budget Requests Go to Congress

OneJustice Team:

You support federal funding for legal services right? Are you ready to rally California voices in support of the Legal Services Corporation’s request for funding? The ABA Access to Justice Blog’s post today has the details.

Originally posted on ABA access to justice blog:

The key data points: LSC Logo
  • LSC’s FY2015 appropriation request: $486 million
  • Obama Administration FY2015 appropriation request for LSC: $430 million (plus perhaps additional funding from newly proposed “Opportunity, Growth, and Security” initiative funding)
  • LSC’s current (FY2014) appropriation: $365 million
  • Important context about how LSC’s appropriation has fared over time: “If funding had kept pace with inflation when compared to its 1995 appropriation of $400 million, LSC’s funding this year would be more than $600 million.”

Here’s LSC’s full press release, with additional details.

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Today’s ATJ Leaders Must Identify Tomorrow’s

OneJustice Team:

We’re so honored that the OneJustice Executive Fellowship program was highlighted by the American Bar Association Access to Justice blog as one step forward in cultivating and supporting our sector’s future leaders!

Originally posted on ABA access to justice blog:

The current generation of leaders in the Access to Justice community is approaching retirement. This group built much of today’s equal justice infrastructure by growing the organizations that deliver legal aid or support legal aid providers.

Much has changed in the past three decades.  Revenue streams are more diverse and less stable. Legal services are delivered differently—not only by legal aid organizations, but by law school clinics, medical/legal partnerships, and collaborations between the public and private sectors.  Outreach to client communities and communications practices have evolved with changing demographics and media platforms.

Today’s legal aid leaders must identify and cultivate tomorrow’s to produce a cohort of new leaders with a broadly-based skill set and their predecessors’ extraordinary commitment to narrowing the justice gap.  Who’s doing this now?

The Washington State Access to Justice Board prioritizes leadership development.  The ATJ Board was among the key partners in launching the Washington…

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It takes a network . . . of innovative thinkers

Circles of passionate thinkers

Coming together to shape the future of philanthropy

OneJustice supports a statewide network of nonprofits, law schools, law firms, and businesses that provide life-changing legal help to hundreds of thousands of Californians facing legal barriers to basic necessities.  You – like everyone in our network – are an essential part of this collective effort!

This month we’re excited to feature Full Circle Fund as another example of how “It Takes a Network” to achieve access to justice for Californians in need. Last year, the Full Circle Fund Rising Leaders program provided wonderful support to OneJustice in the development of a design for a completely virtual legal services clinic – using technology to connect urban lawyers and law students with rural communities.  We were able to connect with Tejal Desai, Full Circle Fund’s Manager of Marketing and Communications, for a quick Q&A about Full Circle Fund and its work.

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OneJustice: Tell us a little bit about Full Circle Fund – what it is and what does it do?
Tejal Desai: Full Circle Fund is an active network of professionals who leverage their time, talent and connections to help nonprofit organizations create more impact.

Each year, Full Circle Fund members gather at Demo Day, where the current year's grant portfolio is unveiled.

Each year, Full Circle Fund members gather at Demo Day, where the current year’s grant portfolio is unveiled.

We bring together these talented individuals (who we call “Members”) to accelerate local change through the collaborative infrastructure of what we refer to as our Circles. Circles unite Members with a common interest in our key issue areas – Economic Opportunity, Education, and Energy/Environment.

OneJustice: That sounds pretty amazing!  How can people get involved?
Tejal: These talented individuals apply for membership and meet with current Members and staff, as well as attend our events, to see if there’s a good fit. Once they join, our Members dive right into our projects!

OneJustice: And how does the Rising Leaders program work? Who participates?
Tejal: Rising Leaders are ambitious and eager early-career individuals who are passionate about making their community and the world a better place. The program was launched thanks to the support of the Koret Foundation in 2012.

Our Rising Leaders receive leadership development and mentorship opportunities, speaker programs, and a separate grant budget for the program participants to plan unique engagement/learning opportunities and events.
To date, our growing group of Rising Leaders have continued to support our current Grant Partners while impacting the larger community; they have helped over 15 organizations outside Full Circle Fund’s current Grant Portfolio with their pressing needs during three-hour consultation and interactive brainstorm sessions, or Idea Jamathons. They continue to wow us through their thought leadership and innovative approaches towards actively engaging our Members with local non-profits that seek support.

Rising Leaders and other Full Circle Fund members work through how to create a completely virtual legal services clinic - the idea that won the June 2013 Idea Jamathon.

Rising Leaders and other Full Circle Fund members work through how to create a completely virtual legal services clinic – the idea that won the June 2013 Idea Jamathon.

OneJustice: Last year OneJustice was honored to be selected to work with the Rising Leaders in an Idea Jamathon.  Can you tell us a bit about that idea and how it works?

Tejal: In early spring 2013, the Rising Leaders opened applications to local non-profit organizations, searching for innovative non-profits with a unique mission and specific set of issue areas to help during a day of collaboration at our first-ever Idea Jamathon. The group then narrowed the selection choice down to seven non-profits to participate in the inaugural Idea Jamathon.

All seven local non-profit organizations then competed to win a $5,000 grant by spending an afternoon solving an issue area that was presented at the beginning of the program. After a day of brainstorming and collaboration, each group presented its solution, and the Rising Leaders voted on OneJustice as having the most innovative solution!

OneJustice: And what most interests you about OneJustice’s approach and strategies?
Tejal: OneJustice takes the hand-up over hand-out approach, which we live and breathe by! We believe in the power of direct and engaged participation and in leveraging talent, paired with a very specific skill set, to help those in need. Access to justice is an especially pressing issue in California for families and individuals (not just lawyers!), and we’re impressed by OneJustice’s direct approach in making legal services and support more accessible to those who are in need.

Full Circle Fund staff Tejal Desai and Maegan Lillis joined in the OneJustice network's 2013 "thank you" video

Full Circle Fund staff Tejal Desai and Maegan Lillis joined in the OneJustice network’s 2013 “thank you” video – to see the whole video click on this image.

From all of us at OneJustice, a huge thank you to the Rising Leaders and all the members of Full Circle Fund for their innovative approach to helping nonprofits scale creative responses to pressing problems and for their terrific support for OneJustice and expanding life-changing legal help to those in need!

Rural California Veterans Thirsty for Legal Support

What’s in the news: California is suffering from a drought.

What doesn’t make the news: too many veterans are living in legal services deserts.

By Renee Schomp, OneJustice Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow

At this point, a lot of us have probably heard that many of the people that the United States has sent off to war return to a life back home that is rife with poverty and struggle. And this is no abstract concept: last May, a federal appeals court in San Francisco found that 18 veterans commit suicide every single day. I don’t know about you, but my first reaction to information like this – after I recover from my heartbreak – is to ask, “Where are these people right here in my home state?” and “What can we do to make their lives even a little bit better?”

Two veterans at the Del Norte County  Justice Bus clinic.

The Justice Bus Project reaches low-income veterans in rural counties across California. The veterans pictured here were served at the Hoopa Valley Tribe community in Del Norte County.

What can we do to make veterans’ lives a little bit better? It turns out that there’s a pretty simple answer. Here’s the deal: California is home to 1.8 million of our nation’s 22 million veterans. And California veterans lag considerably behind national numbers in terms of use of veteran benefits. The government is giving out money to folks who served our country – and a ton of those folks are living on the street, not even getting paid money they’re owed.

Bear with me on these numbers and you’ll be amazed. In California, 30.7% of veterans are disabled, but only 15.7% receive the compensation and pension the Veterans Administration (“VA”) can provide them.

This means that half of the disabled veterans in the state of California do not receive veterans’ benefits!

So where are the veterans who need support – and where are the lawyers who can provide it? I’ll wager a bet that when most of you think about low-income California veterans who probably need legal support, you think of folks living in places like Skid Row or the Tenderloin. And you would not be far off: the highest number of California veterans living in poverty are in fact concentrated in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

But the truth is, there are also many lawyers – both corporate and non-profit alike – who live in these urban meccas. So while the legal needs of low-income urban veterans are high, there are a number of lawyers nearby who can help them. But the many veterans who live in rural towns and the countryside throughout the state of California lack even the most basic access to lawyers who can help them apply for, say, those vital VA benefits.

I imagine you’ve heard of a “food desert.” Well, California’s rural veterans live in legal services deserts. (If not literal, dust-on-your-boots deserts.) There are too few lawyers in rural parts of California to help the many low-income people who live there.

The California Desert

California’s rural veterans are living in legal services deserts, and they are thirsty for legal support!

Rural veterans are less educated, have higher rates of disability, and are older than their urban veteran counterparts. Veteran residents number, at minimum, 26,000, in California’s designated rural communities. That is a lot of American heroes who probably could use some basic legal services. We’ve crunched the numbers, and here are some of the legal services deserts where they live:

Chart: Rural Counties with Lowest Ratio of Attorneys to Low-income Veterans

Chart: Rural Counties with Lowest Ratio of Attorneys to Low-income Veterans

So, how do we get lawyers to California’s legal services deserts? OneJustice’s Justice Bus Project focuses on narrowing the justice gap that exists where California’s rural, low-income communities confront a dearth of legal services providers. We have found that tons of law students and lawyers who work at firms and corporations in California want to partner with rural legal services nonprofits to work, pro bono, to serve those in need. So we literally put pro bono lawyers and law students from California’s urban centers on a bus and drive them out to rural areas of California to provide free legal services to underserved individuals.

And that is what we’re doing now that we’ve realized that there are so many veterans who need help with their veterans’ benefits claims, among other legal issues. It’s not a quick fix – and there are plenty of other obstacles just waiting to confront our veterans – but ultimately it’s a simple solution to what is, really, a simple problem.

So we’re hitting the road to reach those veterans.  We’ll see you on the freeway!

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Renee SchompRenee Schomp is an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow and a proud participant in Equal Justice Work’s national Veterans Legal Corps.  At OneJustice, she is responsible for leading Justice Bus Trips throughout Northern California, working to bring attorney and law student volunteers from urban areas to serve isolated communities.

This blog is cross-posted on the Equal Justice Works Blog.

Two words that just don’t seem right together

Veterans.  Poverty.

Doesn’t it seem like these two things just shouldn’t go together?

And yet, so sadly, for too many veterans, they do.  And to bring some awareness to this issue, we posed this question to the OneJustice network in our February justice contest:

Which county in California, after Los Angeles and San Diego, has the highest number of veterans living in poverty?

And what a range of guesses we received!  Your guesses submitted on facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn included: Orange, Kern, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Stanislaus, Solano, Madera, Riverside, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Bernardino, and Sacramento.  All great guesses!

And the answer is (drum roll please……..):San Bernardino County, with over 8,100 veterans living at or below the poverty line.

One person posted the correct answer: Martha Wright.  Thank you for playing, Martha!  Your OneJustice water bottle is on its way to you.

In 2013, OneJustice launched an initiative to help bring legal assistance to veterans throughout California.  With over 1.8 million veterans in the state, thousands of veterans are living in poverty, and many are homeless.  These veterans face a host of legal problems – ranging from inappropriate denials of veterans benefits and medical care, to legal barriers to employment, to divorce and child custody, and more.

We are proud to partner with Equal Justice Works to bring their Veterans Legal Corps Fellows to California, where our seven Fellows are placed at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Inner City Law Center to serve low-income veterans in Los Angeles.  And your wonderful support for the Justice Bus Project has helped bring life-changing legal help to veterans living in rural and isolated areas.Veterans in Poverty in California

Recently we’ve been crunching some pretty sad numbers to determine which counties have the highest number of veterans living in poverty with the lowest number of local attorneys who could provide pro bono assistance.  We know those counties – with many veterans living in poverty and fewer local attorneys to help – that is where our volunteers can make the most difference.

This chart shows the results of our research.  Many counties have more attorneys than low-income veterans.  In these counties, the local bar should be a viable pro bono resource.  But some counties – like San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern, Fresno, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus – have 2 or even more low-income veterans for every local attorney.  These areas are where bringing in Justice Bus volunteers can make all the difference.

And this is why the Justice Bus Project has been doing trips to serve veterans in the Inland Empire – both San Bernardino and Riverside counties.  And it’s why we are exploring doing trips to Kern and Fresno counties.

Your support keeps these vital services flowing to veterans in need.  Thank you!

Serving up justice

Delighting foodies and justice supporters alike
Credo Restaurant’s unique way of helping nonprofits.

OneJustice supports a statewide network of nonprofits, law schools, law firms, and businesses that provide life-changing legal help to hundreds of thousands of Californians facing legal barriers to basic necessities.  You – like everyone in our network – are an essential part of this collective effort!

Each month we give another example of how “It Takes a Network,” featuring an interview with member of the OneJustice community. This month we touched base with Jason Eriksen, Sales Manager at Merchants Exchange Productions (which includes Credo Restaurant, the Julia Morgan Ballroom, One Leidesdorff, and the Merchants Exchange Club.)

Credo logoEvery July for the last three years, Credo Restaurant has provided incredible support to OneJustice through their innovative “Credo Community Partners” Program.  With a month full of a special OneJustice menu item and a justice cocktail, plus support for multiple justice happy hours and special events, Credo’s support helps OneJustice raise public awareness about the need for equal access to justice and to raise funds for projects that bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.  We are so grateful for their support – so we sat down with Jason to talk a bit about Credo and why the restaurant has developed this unique way to support nonprofits.

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Jason, thank you to so much to everyone at Credo and Merchant Exchange Productions for three years of amazing support for OneJustice and a whole host Credo Main Floor of wonderful nonprofits.  Would  you tell us a little bit about Credo Restaurant and what makes it unique?

Credo was opened in January 2010 by Clint and Janet Reilly. Credo is the Latin and Italian word for “I believe.”  When guests walk in, they will see the walls of Credo are covered in quotes from eclectic figures throughout history with what they believe in.  From Bush to Obama, Richard Pryor to Mother Teresa, the quotes from these famous people are just part of the charm that Credo embodies. The table tops are a sustainable design composed entirely of scrap wood created by acclaimed Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek. The found scrap wood illustrates the organic ideas cleverly positioned on the walls.

Credo’s menu has a focus on modern Italian food with a California fusion. We believe in authentic local ingredients, creative preparation and gracious hospitality. A sophisticated bar with unique libations makes Credo’s bar a fun happy hour spot in San Francisco’s Financial District. The menu is great for both “foodies” and families.

Credo Restaurant has developed a wonderful way of supporting nonprofits – the Community Partners Program.  Can you tell us a bit about the program?

Our owners, Clint and Janet Reilly, have always been extremely philanthropic in their personal and professional life.   Credo was a new outlet for them to give back to the community, and the Community Partners Program was initiated shortly after the restaurant opened in 2010.  We select a quality nonprofit organization every month to highlight through our word of mouth and social media. We select one day out of the month as the “Take Over Night” where 20% of the dinner sales during that night are donated back to the organization. We also have a signature cocktail and appetizer that is served throughout the month, and $2 of each signature appetizer or cocktail are donated back to the nonprofit.  We place a brief article cut-out on each table that explains the goal of the organization, usually with staggering statistics that catch your eye.  The Community Partners Program allows the nonprofit organization to add another voice to educate the masses about the issues they focus on.

Jason Eriksen and Lauren Razaghifar of Merchant Exchange Productions present OneJustice executive Julia Wilson with the July 2013 Community Partnership donation.

Jason Eriksen and Lauren Razaghifar of Merchant Exchange Productions present OneJustice executive Julia Wilson with the July 2013 Credo Community Partners Program donation.

And why did you select OneJustice as a participant in the Community Partners Program for the last three years?

With so many nonprofits in the Bay Area, we have to find organizations that match our company’s overall philanthropic goals.  The fight OneJustice supports to eliminate obstacles that hinder people from obtaining justice is exactly the caliber of nonprofit we enjoy highlighting as a Credo Community Partner. The Bay Area needs more organizations with the passion that the OneJustice staff and network portray.

Last July, Credo served a very special cocktail to benefit OneJustice during our Community Partners month – the Legal Lampone.  What is the recipe for a Legal Lampone, for the folks in the OneJustice network who would like to try it again?

Sure thing!  The ingredients for a Legal Lampone are:

  • Raspberry-infused cachaca (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice, this is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil!)
  • Campari
  • Lemon simple syrup

As you know, the OneJustice network is full of foodies, so what are YOUR favorite items on the Credo menu right now?

  • Appetizer: Burrata w. Tuscan Honey, Sea Salt & Crostini
  • Salad: Arugula w. Frisee, Asian Pears, Almonds & Pecorino Monteporo
  • Pasta: Orecchiette w. Sausage, Onions, Gyspsy Pepper Tomato Ragu & Fresh Garbanzo Beans
  • Pizze: Spicy Pork Sausage, Tomato, Fontina, Parmesan and Dandelion Greens
  • Entrée: Lamb Shank w. EVOO Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach & Marsala Jus
  • Dessert: Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Crema

[Editor's note: YUM!  For those of you in the Bay Area, Credo is open Monday to Friday 11:00 am-10:00 pm, Saturday 5:30 pm-10:00 pm and closed Sunday.]

And mark your calendars now for July 17, 2014!  OneJustice is thrilled that our annual Opening Doors to Justice event will take place again at the gorgeous Julia Morgan Ballroom - yet another piece of this terrific collaboration between OneJustice and the team at Credo and Merchant Exchange Productions!

A huge and heartfelt thank you to Jason and everyone at Credo and Merchant Exchange Productions for the Credo Community Partners Program and their years of support for OneJustice!

To believe is power. Justice is power. This is justice.

Sometimes you get to be part of something really special.

That’s what happened when Mr. Salazar invited me into his home.

Last October, something really special happened to me.  I drove in the early morning from my home in Pacifica to a small town in the Central Valley – Firebaugh, California.  And there, I met Mr. Florentino Salazar, who invited me into his home.

Mr. Salazar in the Dave Brick Film for OneJustice

Click on the image above to view the 3-minute film Dave Brick created about the power of legal services.

You see, a couple of months earlier, OneJustice won an amazing contest run by Dave Brick of Brick Films.  Dave is an incredibly talented filmmaker (you can see his work on his website) – and he decided to provide a free film to a nonprofit as a way of giving back.  After 47 contest submissions and thousands of votes cast for the finalists, OneJustice was the contest winner – and the recipient of Dave’s generosity with his time, energy and expertise.  Working with Dave, we all decided that the best possible idea was a film that could be used by the entire legal services sector to relate the power of our work – through the lens of one client’s experience.  And with OneJustice’s focus on reaching isolated areas of the state, and Dave’s prior work for CRLA and PolicyLink documenting the needs of small unincorporated communities in rural areas, it was a no-brainer that we would focus on the Central Valley.

And so we worked with Chris Schneider and the dedicated team at Central California Legal Services, who introduced us to Mr. Salazar.  He agreed to meet with me, to hear more about the film idea, so I trundled off to Firebaugh.

And had my heart broken wide open.  As we sat around his kitchen table, Mr. Salazar was incredibly open with me about his experience.  He had worked his entire life to provide for his family.  Like many low-wage workers, they lived one pay period away from truly hard times.  And then came medical problems, surgery, and trouble making ends meet – followed by a terrible experience with a loan modification company whose unlawful practices brought Mr. Salazar and his family to the brink of losing their home.  Somehow they miraculously made it to Central California Legal Services – who stepped in, saved the home, and ultimately won an injunction that prohibited the company from continuing their illegal and predatory behavior.

Now I know that this story is repeated hundreds and thousands of times throughout California.  Legal services attorneys work miracles in family’s lives every day.  But sitting in Mr. Salazar’s modest and immaculate home, meeting his wife, sons and family members, hearing him describe the attorneys at Central California Legal Services as angels who came into his life – it reminded me what an honor and a privilege it is to do this work.

And so it seems particularly right to share this film with you all on Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Because I think Dr. King would have agreed with Mr. Salazar that “To believe is power.  Justice is power.  This is justice.”

(Click here or on the image above to watch the film.)

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